The original kiwi: Interview with a kiwi bird

Photo by tara hunt. Kiwi Encounter. (photo of a model kiwi because the real thing is very elusive and park rangers don’t want you taking photos). CC. https://flic.kr/p/495oR2   Amelia: Here I am on Stewart Island in New Zealand, the place I’m most likely to get a glimpse of the secretive, nocturnal kiwi. I’ll be hiking in this coastal rainforest for three days, so I’m guaranteed to see one, right? Kiwi: I wouldn’t bet on…

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Interview with a Western Tent Caterpillar

Photo by Andrew Reding. Western tent caterpillars. 2014. CC. https://flic.kr/p/nwEuEP (This post was inspired by my father, who saw tent caterpillars in July and told me I should write a blog post about them. Merry Christmas Dad!) Me: What a lovely June day. The bees are buzzing, the flowers are blooming, the caterpillars are swarming. Wait, why are caterpillars swarming my Aspen tree? Get off of there! Western Tent Caterpillars: Make me. I’m a native…

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Worried Woolly Bears

Photo by Tony Fischer. Wooly Bear Caterpiallar to Tiger Moth. CC. https://flic.kr/p/5DzVRB While biking to school these days I’ve had to dodge the fuzzy black and orange caterpillars scurrying across the bike path. What are these critters, and why are they running so fast? Child stars Apparently woolly bears are the most recognizable caterpillar in North America, which is funny because I had never heard of them until this year. They’re much more famous than…

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Worried Woolly Bears

Photo by Tony Fischer. Wooly Bear Caterpiallar to Tiger Moth. CC. https://flic.kr/p/5DzVRB While biking to school these days I’ve had to dodge the fuzzy black and orange caterpillars scurrying across the bike path. What are these critters, and why are they running so fast? Child stars Apparently woolly bears are the most recognizable caterpillar in North America, which is funny because I had never heard of them until this year. They’re much more famous than…

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Underwater torpedo: Interview with a Common Loon

Common loons are voracious predators as well as being beautiful singers. Photo by Gary J. Wege, USFWSmidwest.Common Loons. CC. https://flic.kr/p/7SVDNK   Me: I feel like I’ve been paddling this canoe forever. Oh, look a loon! It’s standing up and flapping its wings at me, how welcoming. Common Loon: Idiot, this is a territorial display! What are you doing on my lake? Me: Well, I’m camped just over there… L: Is that an outboard motor I…

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Underwater torpedo: Interview with a Common Loon

Common loons are voracious predators as well as being beautiful singers. Photo by Gary J. Wege, USFWSmidwest.Common Loons. CC. https://flic.kr/p/7SVDNK   Me: I feel like I’ve been paddling this canoe forever. Oh, look a loon! It’s standing up and flapping its wings at me, how welcoming. Common Loon: Idiot, this is a territorial display! What are you doing on my lake? Me: Well, I’m camped just over there… L: Is that an outboard motor I…

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Sun worshipers: 6 things you didn’t know about sunflowers

Photo by Amelia Buchanan. CC. It wasn’t until I saw fields of sunflowers in the south of France that I ever thought of these yellow flowers as a crop. From mayonnaise to snack food, there’s more to these blossoms than meets the eye. North American origins Sunflowers, like blueberries and cranberries, are one of the few crops native to North America. The wild ancestors of most of the world’s food plants, like wheat, corn and…

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Sun worshipers: 6 things you didn’t know about sunflowers

Photo by Amelia Buchanan. CC. It wasn’t until I saw fields of sunflowers in the south of France that I ever thought of these yellow flowers as a crop. From mayonnaise to snack food, there’s more to these blossoms than meets the eye. North American origins Sunflowers, like blueberries and cranberries, are one of the few crops native to North America. The wild ancestors of most of the world’s food plants, like wheat, corn and…

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Enigmatic Echinacea: Consumers’ on-again, off-again relationship with a Prairie herb

I set out to photograph flowers. I may have been distracted by the bumble bees. No regrets. Photo by Amelia Buchanan. CC. This is a story of colds, flus, and the hope that their annoying symptoms will one day disappear. From patent medicine hacks to million dollar profits, it’s the story of Echinacea. This purple Prairie plant is mainly marketed as a remedy for cold and flu symptoms. It is also one of the most…

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Enigmatic Echinacea: Consumers’ on-again, off-again relationship with a Prairie herb

I set out to photograph flowers. I may have been distracted by the bumble bees. No regrets. Photo by Amelia Buchanan. CC. This is a story of colds, flus, and the hope that their annoying symptoms will one day disappear. From patent medicine hacks to million dollar profits, it’s the story of Echinacea. This purple Prairie plant is mainly marketed as a remedy for cold and flu symptoms. It is also one of the most…

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